The Scars on My Wrists (Nanowrimo 2013)

After struggling with depression and a suicide attempt, Marie decides to take a Gap Year to Italy and Spain. She falls in love, and more importantly, changes her entire life.
Edited for movellas, in its poorly written state. R rated for lots of swearing, cutting, and sexual language. TW: (recollection of) sexual assault, cutting

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1. Chapter 1

If I'm going to start at the beginning, at how I met him and we fell in love and all that silly nonsense, we're going to need to take a trip down memory lane, as they say. Let's see. Maybe I should begin with what I thought the roots of my problems were. What they used to be, anyway. Turns out sometimes what we expect or think isn't what is actually going on. Hindsight has taught me a lot, and it's taught me to write it all down, because if I don't, well then, I'll forget the good things and the bad things. The bad things make the good things better, I think. So I'll start with the bad.

    I was around five, or six, and they started picking on me because every time I cried. I guess they found my response gratifying. It doesn't really matter. What you need to know is that it didn't stop. Of course, after graduation is another story, where they got their just desserts, but I'll come to that later.

    In a small town like my town, where bullies grow alongside victims, the ostracizing grows. And grows. To the point where you think, really, what's my point in this world? Am I here for a reason? Or am I just a punching bag? You can only take those hits so long until your seams start to split and unravel, and your innards, your soul, begins to spill out. And no one can, no one will sew you back up.

    In rebellion, I died my hair pink at the ends and wore torn up clothing. I wanted to be different. I made myself a target. But even if I hadn't, it wouldn't have mattered. Lipstick on a pig was still a pig, and I was always a pig in their eyes even if I disguised it with name brands. I didn't gauge my ears, since I was too much of a wimp for that, but I did get extra piercings including a cartilage one. Total rebel, right?

    And then, I began it all around age fourteen. Cutting. After the incident that I forgot about and didn't remember again until years later, but I was diagnosed with depression, and yeah, I had meds but I don't think think the balance was right because I was still horribly depressed. I would get up, and cry. I would stop breathing sometimes, because it was like there was something sitting there on my chest, weighing me down. I felt a million pounds heavier and lost twenty. I'd heard about it online. At that point, I needed anything, any form of release would do, because I was so numb and so tired of it. So cold towards the world. Was I alive? Was I worth it? God, something, please, anything, give me some relief! 

    I dragged the blade across my skin, the one my father used for caulking and watched as the red bubbled up, like neurotoxins being released. It felt good. Unfortunately, I hadn't been smart and the chemicals left on the blade caused a nasty infection that I had to treat discretely. I hid it from my parents, from my little brother. I hid it all. They couldn't worry. They shouldn't have to put up with my miserable existence.

    And I read to cope. Stories where things were happier, and hope was a place and love had a name. I hid my face behind large books and poured my energy into stories. And I wrote too. I wrote about myself and I wrote about characters. I had sketches on the floor, diagrams posted in my room with little post-it notes about where I wanted each story to go, and I had a habit of carrying a small notepad in my pocket just to jot down ideas for description as I walked.

    But one day, I couldn't hide it any longer. That was the day that I slashed both wrists vertically, stepped into the tepid water, watching it all flow out with a sick fascination. My life-force was leaving my body, I thought poetically. I was dramatic even in suicide. But as I grew light headed, I started to regret my decision. I wanted to live. I tried to jump from the bath, but I was weak, and blacked out, hitting the floor. I thought it was over; my painful, suffering existence had finally been cleansed from the earth. And then I woke up in the hospital.

    I suppose what led me to even consider suicide was that it was just too much. Too much pain, nothing to look forward to, not even a small glimmer of hope, I pondered melodramatically.

    As usual, Bella was the culprit. She had made it her life's work to pick on me, nonstop. I was her punching bag. She was the tennis star with a perfect GPA, with a rat face but no one cared because she brought the keg to all the wild parties I heard about. I kept my head hung low as I passed her in the cafeteria study hall, but not low enough.

    Later I would realize that this incident isn't truly what caused everything. Another, larger memory lurked in my mind like a monster, feeding off my fear and poisoning my thoughts. 

    Well, Bitchy Bella, as usual, decided to toss my things in the trash because at eighteen, her maturity was the same level as a five year old. I was just as bad as her sometimes, I suppose. Now when I look back on myself at that age I do cringe at my naivety. And then I forgive myself because I was just a kid, and so was she. Hell, we were all kids just trying to find our way through. Some, like me, ended up caught on the rocks though.

    In any case, I spent a good ten minutes looking for where my backpack was, while she laughed with her friends, my face growing red with embarrassment. I found them, covered by slime and cafeteria gook, and left my bag in the trash after taking out my books. Ruined.

    What made me the most upset wasn't that my bag was all nasty, It was that my cloth keychains had been destroyed, including a little stuffed cat. At that time, I had desperately wanted a pet, and that stupid cat was the closest thing I had to a real one. It made me smile in the middle of the day. It was something so small and yet it did mean a lot to me. Other trinkets from countries I'd hoped to visit were left to drown in the disgusting cafeteria mixture.

    So after sitting in the corner, still too upset to do my homework properly, I walked home and decided that the weight on my chest was too much. Too many days had passed with too many incidents and I needed an escape. One that wasn't temporary like cutting. I hadn't taken my depression meds either because I had thought that they weren't working, and that probably was the clincher.

    Now, stuck in the hospital, my arms were heavily bandaged. I was paralyzed, staring at the ceiling, an off-white color with a crack down the center. My eyes, desperate for any entertainment, traced that crack back and forth several times.

    My parents and little brother, nodding up against the side of the wall, heads tilted back, mouths open and facing up, had cried while I had lain like a stone, too tired to move. 

Somewhere, deep within me, something red burned inside. It wasn't blood. It was life, pulsing through my veins. I was still alive. Why? Why was I still here when somewhere else in the world, another person who wanted to live more than me had lost it all?

    I remembered reading that story about the drunk driver and the boyfriend, who looked his girlfriend in the eye as he yanked that wheel so he took the brunt of the impact and died and she lived, crying on the side of his grave. Or the Boston shooting teacher, whose boyfriend left her side of the bed empty for several weeks, her smell still left on the pillow, her Christmas presents to him left unwrapped under the tree.

    That redness began to spill up into my arms and feet. I could feel. Slowly, I could feel the numbness leaving my body.

    What would have happened if I died?

    Would my parents have left the room to my door open and tried to imagine the thumps my feet made as I sang and danced to the radio? Would they have left my room untouched for years, a wave of nauseating grief hanging over my things like a black curtain descending on the books and leafs of paper with little doodles and notes?

    The redness washed over my entire body. I could feel. It hurt, like my heart was being ripped from my chest, and my veins were still connected, and it was being squeezed in a tin can where the edges are too sharp.

I screamed in pain, sobbing for release. My mother took my head in her hands and stroked my head, like I was a child again as I cried.

    "It's ok, we'll let you finish the year on homestay," she said as I muffled my tears into the bedspread. She was crying too. "Just please, promise me, you'll never try this again. You don't even have to go to college next year, you can take a year off and take some time for yourself." The emotions washed over my heart. Love. Loyalty. Pain. Relief. I could feel. I was alive.

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